AFRICA, BOTANICAL, MOROCCO, PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL

Morocco Visual Diary: Falling In Love With Marrakech Again, part 1

15th May 2016

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|| Marrakech ||

Having visited Morocco multiple times and consistently magical.  Marrakech is the the city I’ll always come back to and fall in love again for many reasons – beautiful architecture and impressive decors, tranquil urban gardens, nice locals, snow capped Atlas mountains range providing impressive backdrop, beautiful mosques, arts and crafts, getting lost in the medina, hustle and bustle in the souk, savouring the flavours of Moroccan food, old colonial buildings, rich culture and heritage, hearing the call to prayer, when tradition meets new, stunning riads, seeing camels by the roadside, all under a pristine blue sky.

I start off with something ‘charming’ and ‘beautiful’ – beautiful Moroccan gardens in and around Marrakech, and a beautiful riad hotel that bodes perfectly with the garden themed visual diary.  Enjoy!

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|| Jardin Majorelle ||

Walking through through this postcard-ready serene garden of Jardin Majorelle restored by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s, was like something out of a fairytale.  Too Beautiful.  The garden sits just outside the medina walls of the ‘Red City’, features the famous cobalt blue house and Monet-esque water lily pond surrounded by exotic plants and lush greens, it’s one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever visited and an absolute calming effect on people and calming on the eye.  Although I have visited the garden twice it was worth a revisit.  Don’t miss the Berber museum, Galerie Love, and the famous Majorelle Blue square fountain, and Yve Saint Laurent Memorial.

Jardin Majorelle – Rue Yves Saint Laurent, 40090, Marrakech.

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|| Jardin Menara ||

A long walk along the large olive tree grove, still cultivated, with rows of palm trees, a large ancient pool in the middle overlooked by the pavilion, I believe it was served as a reservoir to irrigate crops, you may find large carps in the pool.  The large landscaped garden is said to be around 800 years old, people come here to chill and relax to escape the heat of the day, or have picnic under olive trees.

Jardin Menara – Ain Mezouar, Marrakech.

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|| El Badi Palace ||

Built in the 16th century commissioned by the Saadian sultan Ahmed el Mansour, now lies mostly in ruin.  A vast open space courtyard what used to be a ceremonial parade grounds of the 16th Century palace, with a sunken symmetry garden filled with orange and lemon trees, scented flowery shrubs, empty pools separated with gardens, and nesting storks nearby atop of the ruins.  It’s a great place to go wander around and spot stray cats roam freely on the palace grounds, and don’t miss the dungeons!

Palais El Badi – Ksibat Nhass, Marrakech.

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|| Beautiful gardens to visit in Marrakech ||

  • Bahia Palace – A major tourist attraction, offers intimate glimpse inside the beautiful palace and courtyard gardens where visitors can lose themselves in the beauty of their surrounds.  5 Rue Riad Zitoun El Jjid, 40000, Marrakech.
  • Dar Si Said Museum – A beautifully restored palace now a museum of Moroccan Arts and crafts with a hidden gem, an immaculate riad-style courtyard garden surrounded by citrus trees and flowery shrubs, features an elaborate pavilion and  a fountain in the centre.  Small garden, well worth a visit. Riad Zitoun Jjid, 40000, Marrakech.

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|| La Sultana Hotel ||

I loved visiting riads, it has always been one of my favourite tours on my previous trips to Morocco, it’s an opportunity to see traditional how Moroccans used to live and entertain in a beautiful courtyard house before converted to riad hotel, taking the time to appreciate Moroccan architecture and decorative design.  It’s like creating a ‘real life’ Pinterest board pinning everything you see and like with a blink of an eye, mumbling yourself that it is possible to create a Moroccan riad-style courtyard with a traditional tiled fountain (with fresh rose petals of course) in your back garden.  Dream can wait.

We were given an opportunity to visit La Sultana Hotel and a spot of afternoon lunch al fresco on panoramic rooftop.  The award-winning boutique hotel is located within easy reach of the medina and Bahia Palace, the property was made up of 5 adjoining riads, beautifully restored to create a hotel.  La Sultana Hotel offers its beauty, top notch hospitality, luxury, and memorable experience to guests, as well as their signature pampering spa treatments and take advantage of facilities including a gym, hammams, sauna, jacuzzi, and beauty centre.  The hotel features stucco work and intricate hand carved cedar wood ceilings, ornamental plasterwork, traditional tiles, luxurious interior decors – given each rooms and suites its own distinctive charm and theme, elegant Moorish courtyard with a heated swimming pool. Overall enchanting and seriously opulent in attention to details.

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Thankfully we were blessed with beautiful weather so we were able to have a relaxed chill out lunch on the spacious rooftop terraces overlooking the city and Atlas Mountains, and hear the afternoon call to prayer as we have lunch.  I had the enticing chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, it was cooked beautifully – tender, succulent, and nice punch of flavour (my mother’s Chinese version of braised chicken with lemon and olives never pleases me, too tangy for my liking).  A glass of rose to compliment the dish and delicious apple pie with vanilla cream to end the afternoon.  I didn’t want to leave this charming place and it’s certainly one of the most beautiful riad-hotels I’ve ever visited.

La Sultana Hotel – 403 Rue de la Kasbah, 4000, Marrakech.

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|| Beautiful riads in Marrakech ||

  • Dar Darma – A beautifully restored quirky riad with hand painted high ceilings and colour themed suites, complemented by Moroccan decors.   11-12 Trik Sidi Bohuarba, 40000, Marrakech.
  • Riad Les Yeux Bleus – Owned by French owner Jocelyne Despin.  A blend of of contemporary and traditional Morrocan styles, with a pop art touch.  7 Derb El Ferrane, Bab Doukkala, Medina, Marrakech.
  • El Fenn – An atmospheric house combining exotic vibrant colours and grandeur architecture with contemporary decorative twist (reminds me of Guy Bourdin’s work in a non-provocative way).  Derb Moullay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, Bab El Ksour, Medina, 4000, Marrakech.
  • Demeurs d’Orient – Luxurious riad and spa, with beautifully decorated rooms and a blend of Oriental and Moorish touch.  10 Arset Ben Nasser, Riad Laarouss, 4000, Marrakech.
  • Ryad Dyor – One word. WOW!  Owned by a couple of designers – one Dutch and one Spanish.  Ryad Dyor offers a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary design, incorporates elements from Europe to Asia.  This riad is definitely a winner for interior design lovers and interior photographers.   1 Driba Jdida, Sidi Ben Slimane, 4000, Marrakech.

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Stay tuned for part 2, for more civilised side of Marrakech – our walk through labyrinth of alleyways in Medina, hustle and bustle in the souk, and Es Saadi Gardens and Resort.


Kit Lee was a guest of Morocco Tourist Board.


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1 Comment

  • Reply Tia 17th May 2016 at 12:22

    Loved this post! Morocco seems like such a beautiful place from your lens. You captured the photos really well. So beautiful and inspiring<3

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